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Sabres forward Eichel back vs. Hurricanes

Buffalo rookie center missed one game because of illness

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

SABRES (29-34-10) at HURRICANES (31-27-14)


RALEIGH, N.C. -- Rookie center Jack Eichel will return to the lineup when the Buffalo Sabres visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

Eichel did not play Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs because of an illness.

"It takes a few days to get back to where you want to be so I'm happy to be back with the guys," said Eichel, whose overtime goal gave the Sabres a 3-2 win against Carolina on March 12. "It's much better to be in the locker room and going on the ice than to be out of the lineup. I'm just trying to do the right things to prepare for the game."

Eichel, who returns to his role centering Evander Kane and Nicolas Deslauriers, said he thinks the overtime win 10 days ago is a good blueprint for the rematch Tuesday.

"We competed, we got to the net. We didn't give them too much," he said. "I think we played with the puck on our stick a lot. It's what we need to do tonight. I think we can do a better job of getting pucks to the net and bodies to the net."

Carolina coach Bill Peters noted the play of Eichel and fellow rookie Sam Reinhart, suggesting that they already are delivering on their considerable talent.

"[Eichel] has got the ability to leave you. He's deceptively quick and fast," Peters said. "He's got a really elite shot. Reinhart has a real good hockey mind. His hockey sense is off the charts. He's already at 20 [goals] as a rookie. Those guys are two cornerstones they can build around for sure."

The Hurricanes have lost four in a row (0-1-3), but three of the losses were decided in overtime or the shootout.

On Monday, Carolina recalled forward Derek Ryan, who made his NHL debut during a two-game stint in early March.

"The first game you're always nervous and a little jittery," said Ryan, who scored in his first game, a 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils on March 1. "I just learned that it's still hockey. Yeah, it's faster and it's the best players in the world. But I have to just go out and do the things that got me here.

Here are the projected lineups:


Evander Kane - Ryan O'Reilly - Nicolas Deslauriers

Zemgus Girgensons - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Marcus Foligno - Johan Larsson - Brian Gionta

Cal O'Reilly - David Legwand - Matt Moulson

Josh Gorges - Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe - Zach Bogosian

Mark Pysyk - Chad Ruhwedel

Chad Johnson

Nathan Lieuwen

Injured: Robin Lehner (ankle), Carlo Colaiacovo (lower body), Jason Kasdorf (groin), Cody Franson (neck), Tyler Ennis (concussion), Cody McCormick (blood clot)

Scratched: None


Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm

Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe

Chris Terry - Derek Ryan - Riley Nash

Nathan Gerbe - Jay McClement - Brad Malone

Ron Hainsey - Jaccob Slavin

Noah Hanifin - Brett Pesce

Michal Jordan - Ryan Murphy

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

Injured: Justin Faulk (knee), James Wisniewski (knee), Andrej Nestrasil (back)

Scratched: None

Status report: Buffalo coach Dan Bylsma said Moulson likely will take some shifts with Kane and Eichel. … Faulk, who has missed 16 of Carolina's past 17 games, is skating with the team in a non-contact jersey.

Who's hot: Foligno has two goals and one assist in the past four games. … Di Giuseppe has three goals in five games. … Skinner has four goals and five assists in the past nine games.

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